Today’s geography quiz: where in the country is Mere Green, the home to our 90th shop that opened recently? If your radar was twitching towards the Midlands, well done: it’s a community in Sutton Coldfield, just outside Birmingham.
A great community needs great shops and our ambition whenever we open a new one is that it becomes a beacon of kindness and connection in the community it serves. It’s why we partner with an existing local charity and, every week, donate meals through the COOK Kindness Fund.
COOK Mere Green officially opened last Friday and saw not one, but two official ribbon-cuttings (we love a bit of ceremony). We were chuffed to see both the Mayor of Sutton Coldfield and also Aly, from our Mere Green Kindness Fund charity partner, Hope Food North Birmingham.
“COOK Mere Green has been very much welcomed by the local community […] we’ve been meeting a lot of people from different backgrounds. We’ve got a fantastic team and it’s really exciting!" Sandra, Mere Green Shop Leader
Good luck to Sandra and the team in Mere Green, and hats off to all our shop teams who do such a remarkable job bringing this ambition to life every day. COOK shops, you rock!
How to Make a Shop
A quick insight into the extraordinary effort that goes into turning the dream of a new shop into a reality…
Step 1: Location, location, location.
First we hunt for a suitable location. There’s a lot to consider: proximity to our other shops, parking, floor space... and big part of it is walking around getting a feel for the area and trusting those gut instincts that come from almost 25 years’ experience.
Step 2: Sign, Sealed, Delivered
The lease is signed, window posters go up for new team members, a surveyor does a site survey, and we start working on the design and layout. With Mere Green, opening was delayed by a week after the heavy rain in May revealed the roof needed fixing before we decorate.
“It’s really full on but there’s a great atmosphere. Customers always put their heads around the door and ask when we’re opening. I wouldn’t miss it. It’s a great part of the job” Mary, New Space Designer
Step 3: Handover Day
On handover day we clink mugs with the shop fitters. Then it’s busy, busy, busy: putting in the freezers, unloading the massive food delivery, staff training, all getting ready for…
Step 4: Opening Day!
We welcome customers into the shop for the first time and start getting to know our newest local community.
“I want us to get to a point where we open a new shop and the local community says ‘oh great, COOK’s coming!’ Not just because of our great products, but because actually we’re going to do something for their community as a result of being there. That’s the dream.” Rosie, Co-CEO
Viva La High Street!
(For the trivia junkies out there, Mere Green was home to La Gondola restaurant, owned by Renato Pagliari, one half of duo Renee and Renato, whose 1983 single “Save Your Love” made it to No 1.)